This is the question that has been driving me crazy - people seem to use it interchangeably - sometimes I just turn an idea or thought over and over in my head, instead of consulting the Oracle - so today, I went into Roget's Thesaurus and the answer is ......either / either! I have the entry from the Thesaurus here:-
Main Entry: mould
Part of Speech:noun
Synonyms: conformation, copy, duplicate, embodiment, facsimile, figure, form, mold , plaster, replica, sculpture, shape
Phew! - now that I have that sorted, let me tell you what I have been up to this week.
I had a resin pendant, in Victorian filigree, coloured to resemble amber with the exoskeleton of a scorpion embedded into it. I seem to have acquired all this stuff, until my stash is so large, I shouldn't really need to buy anything else - but it doesn't work that way ever, does it - like being too rich or too thin or having too many shoes! - you can never have too many things in your beading stash.
Anyway, I digress - so, I put this pendant which is as faux as faux can be, with some real branch bamboo coral which was dyed gold and black - two rows of those with two more faux amber beads and I had myself a handsome piece of jewellery - it looks quite regal in fact - well I think so, have a look at it for me...
I called it Isis - the Egyptian Goddess, who was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife ( just like me - wife, I mean) and was the patron goddess of nature and magic, mother of Horus, the hawk headed God of war. She had seven ( a lucky number in Egypt) scorpions to protect her from harm - three in front of her, two under her palanquin and two at the rear - this babe sure didn't take any chances!
My little exoskeleton pendant is unlikely to do much in the way of protection, but what I like about it is that such an ugly/scary object has been so convincingly prettified - that's why I bought it, I guess. I like the contrast of pretty and scary in the same object!
At the weekend, I pulled out all the moulds I have - in my mold stash (!) and decided that from now on, I shall use every one of them - one or two each week and until I use them all shall buy no more - I do want the AMACO sun mould set, but fortunately, it is out of stock in the UK and I refuse to pay a whole load to have it shipped out to me from the States. So I pulled out the 'Hydrangea' mould and a sunflower mould and made some Copper Precious Metal clay bits with them- my problem is that I tend to make jewellery with what I have - it just evolves as I go along from a little germ of an idea - when I conceive a whole design, it never works out for me. This is actually important when making pieces of copper, as I need to know how many holes I want in the piece - too few and I will kick myself, and too many just looks silly - you get my drift?? Anyway, I imagined a necklace with polymer clay and copper pieces, all from the same mould and designed a necklace - and the long and the short of it is, it never happened and I ended up with a polymer clay necklace, as well as a sweet pair of copper earrings and pendant to match, which nods cursorily in the direction of Steampunk.
Hydraulic Hydrangea - pendant and earrings
I made these from Precious metal clay, and decided to patinate them with the Vintaj range of Patinas which are new in the UK - they seem to have them a lot more in the USA - where copper is a favourite metal - very rustic and Boho - I took a look on various other UK websites, and it is slowly creeping into UK consciousness, so I guess, I shall be at the forefront of the Copper Revolution. I coloured my flowers Tiffany blue and moss green, and then, since I had changed my mind about how I was going to use them, set myself a challenge to make them up as they were - I had 4 holes in each as they were meant to be links in a necklace - this is how they ended up. I used some watch gears and cogs as I think they are so sweet - you have to look closely at the individual piece to find the gears, but they are there. It has been a challenge to take photographs to portray them properly, but I have enjoyed it. I still have two little flowers left, and they will no doubt surface some day as earrings.
Mood Indigo - named by Michael Shilvock
This was made from a Ghau Box, once again from my stash of bits and bobs. This is a rather large box, with inlays of turquoise, lapis and coral, all swirly patterned - I matched the colours with gemstones - and having made a frame for the Ghau box, filled it in with as many gemstones as would fit to give it a lavish look. My husband took one look at it and said 'call it Mood Indigo' - probably because of the prominent colour of the Lapis Lazuli - so here it is.
Play the song too, why don't you - I am a great believer in some foot tapping while I work - and there's nothing better for that than the great Nina Simone - I booked tickets to see her sing in Manchester ( can you see someone singing?? - but you know what I mean) and they cancelled because she was too ill to go on - she died in Paris not long after.
Everyone I know makes Tree of Life pendants - and they are very pretty. It is a motif that recurs in religious symbols, philosophy and mythology and refers to the idea that all beings are connected to one another.
I had been toying with the idea of making one - but I had to figure out an angle - a common or garden Tree (!) simply wouldn't do. I have always been fascinated by the story of the Book of Genesis - and the misogynistic idea that everything is the woman's fault - well, maybe it is, but I'm not about to admit it (actually, neither did Eve - she blamed the serpent!). I think it is also because I went to a Convent school as a child ( but probably just cos I like the idea of mischief). I made a pendant very early on in my practising days for my willing guniea pig and friend Sheela, also with this motif. In todays pendant, there is a serpent looking up at the apples in the moonlight, hatching the plot that will bring mankind to its knees (actually womankind) and him onto his belly for ever and ever - and so it goes for mischief makers!
I had a hammered copper star shaped pendant for many moons, not knowing quite what to do with it, and I used it to make this visual pageant of the day the Book of Genesis was born - and I had to call it just that.
Before I end, I have a joke for you - One day God told Noah to build an ark and put in two of each animal. Noah built the ark, there was the Great Flood and the animals were saved. After the waters receded, Noah released the animals, two by two, back into the wild. He said to the dogs "Go forth and multiply". He said to the deer, " Go forth and multiply".
He then said to the snakes, "Go forth and multiply." They looked at each other, flummoxed. "What is the matter?" asked Noah.
"We can't," the snakes replied "we're adders!"
Have a fab week and I will catch up with you next Friday
She was a lump of copper, almost discarded - a left over from my experiments with firing schedules and a new kiln. I made her from a mould (or is it mold??) I took of the ox bone cabochon I used to make The Siren - but when she was finished she was just a brown unprepossessing nugget of copper - nothing like the beautiful bone she was a replica of.
A pack rat mentality meant she didn't get thrown away, but sat in a box until I happened to get a recipe for patination of copper from a group of jewellery makers in the USA - I met them on Facebook, and they use copper and bronze which they manipulate (and torture) relentlessly to produce different surfaces with chemicals, heat treatments, paints, enamels - all sorts, really - I got a recipe using 'Kosher' salt, acetic acid and ammonia fumes and produced some fairly pretty effects last week. I found the face again, and thought I'd try some of those chemicals once more - and when she came out of the fume box - her face looked weathered and beautiful - nothing to show she was related in any way to the piece that went in, and was a lovely shade of blue - and I swear this - she spoke to me! Now I am not given to flights of fancy - but I sort of knew she was from Angkor Wat, although I have never been there - the first picture I found on the internet was the one I have posted below - I had to stop what I was doing and make her up - it was a compulsion that saw me sitting in front of the telly after work tweaking wire till she emerged, fully robed and ready for display - The Sleeping Goddess.
Cleopatra's Needles necklace
Cleopatra's needles are actually obelisks in London, New York and Paris - they are much older than Cleopatra and this is obviously a misnomer. I called my necklace by this name because of the needles of blue jasper in it and the nuggets and slabs of Lapis Lazuli, which has clear associations with Cleopatra as her favourite gem stone. She even had it ground up to use as eye paint. The pendant was a piece of copper from the kiln, with an image of gingko leaves impressed into it and patinated. I made a polymer clay surround and put the same pattern on it and then surfaced it to look like a building I had seen in Reykjavik - their council house has an outside stone wall which has water running down it and moss growing out of it - no, it isnt a burst pipe - they don't get service from Severn Trent Water - it has been designed to grow like that - a perennial hanging garden. I wonder whether it freezes over in the winter? - but with the geothermal energy they have lurking about underneath the ground, they probably give it enough warm water in the winter to allow it to flourish in spite of the cold - I must ask around!
The Poolside Pleasantry Collar
I was looking for a place to go on holiday in September when it starts to get cooler here in the UK, but is still just right in central Europe - where to go?? - I don't know about you, but for me the research is part of the fun. I am a Trip Advisor junkie, and faithfully put my reviews in when I get back off holiday - I never book into a hotel without reading up on it on Trip Advisor ( no, they are not paying me to say this !). We were watching the recent ads for Muller Lite yoghurt with the lady centaurs in Santorini - it is so pretty and I think that's where we will end up, especially as they have flights to Thira from Birmingham, our nearest airport. Mike fancies Aghios Nikolaos in Crete - we can get there easily from Brum too. From these images was born the Poolside Pleasantry Collar - a polymer clay piece, with a coating of resin to simulate ceramic - but in contrast to a ceramic piece that size, is light and easy to carry on holiday, in a turquoise blue and white. I made it up with a simple wooden and glass bead necklace with a couple of little white acrylic roses. It is a lighthearted, pretty piece, much like the place that inspired it.
The geometrical lines are softened by the pretty colours and the frills of the roses - much like Santorini, all blue and white.
I hope you have enjoyed my meanderings - have a good week and I will catch you next week xx
For some reason this week has been about earrings - well, it started with the lady who bought the Ghau Box necklace commissioning a pair of earrings to match, and then deciding she wanted Dew Fairy Dreams as well - and would I come up with a pair of earrings 'to wow her' - so no pressure then! I thought about making little ginkgo leaves out of polymer clay and wiring them together, but soon realised it would be impossible to get an exact colour match due to the techniques used to make the pendants in Dew Fairy - so I made wire ginkgo leaves to match instead - this was harder than I thought as the two had to mirror each other exactly, and wire develops a mind of its own when you want it to play nicely - its like the roll knows when to play me up - but tame it in the end, i did - and this is what I came up with. My customer is away on holiday, so will only see them next week - I will let you know what she says.
I was now on a roll - I had some earring components I made in the kiln out of Copper Precious Metal Clay - Copper clay is a soft putty like substance consisting of fine copper powder in an organic binder. It is rolled out, textured, dried, sanded and fired in my kiln at 920 degrees Celsius - the organic binder burns away, and the copper sinters together to leave pure metal - this is then cooled, tumbled and polished and formed into jewellery. Precious metal clay is available in silver, gold, copper and bronze. I have fallen in love with copper as a medium for art jewellery, and have chosen copper clay - for now, anyway. I tried many different firing schedules, and finally came up with something that works - hooray! I then learned about cold patination of copper and got me a set of chemicals - or rather, sent hubby off on an errand to find the chemicals for me - you can see the effect achieved after I patinated the pieces and sealed them with Plastikote spray to hold the patina.
These earrings were made to go with the Leaf Unturned necklace, whose focal is made of polymer clay and precious metal clay copper.
Bacchus was the original party god - his devotees were associated with wine, grapes, sexual free for alls and not surprisingly, fertility! A drunken orgy is still called a Bacchanalia. Bacchus' divine mission is 'liberation' - he loosens the tongues of those who drink his wine, and allows them to do and say as they wish. It is said that most of Bacchus' worshippers were women, and his feasts were attended only by them - although this part of the story is a bit suspect, given the 'fertility' bit he is meant to represent.
I made bunches of grapes with teardrop shaped glass beads - they looked almost edible, and then wired them individually on to a frame with crystal leaves, polymer clay leaves and stems, copper tendrils, and added some jade and dragons vein agate grapes to the other side of the necklace - it is a necklace that can be worn by any self respecting bacchanaliast! ( yes, that is a made up word)
It was bought within twenty four hours of posting it on the website - I wish the new owner plenty of fun with it.
Pantone is the world-renowned authority on colour and has been inspiring design professionals with products, services and leading technology for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity for over 45 years.
In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone's founder, created an innovative system for identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community.The PANTONE VIEW Colour Planner, introduced in 2004 is a biannual trend forecasting tool that offers seasonal color direction and inspiration 24 months in advance for multiple usages, including fashion, cosmetics and industrial design, which the fashion industry follows rather slavishly. The colour of the year for 2012 has been predicted to be 'Tangerine Tango' which means that a lot of clothes and accessories will have at least a touch of orange to them.
'Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, provides the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward. Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,' says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” http://www.pantone.co.uk
So I figured, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em - this is my take on Tangerine Tango ----
Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque and impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in colour, rarely blue. Picture Jasper exhibits a combination of banding patterns from flow or depositional patterns from water or wind resulting in what appears to be scenes or images when cut. I think picture jasper is particularly beautiful as it appears to be ingrained with geological and historical memories. I set it with dark lava rock shapes to offset the brightness of the orange mother of pearl and added silver tone spacers and freshwater pearls for sheen.
I had a set of four lapis chrysocolla pendant beads bought in Hong Kong a long time ago - these are usually strung in a row with seed beads between them, and I have been racking my brain to come up with a different way of presenting them. Looking into the depths of the stone, it felt like I was immersed in a pool of water deep in a rainforest - there are gold glints of pyrite which gleam softly, bringing dancing motes of sunlight to mind.
I imagined a calm lake, just after a fall of rain, with insects coming out for a drink before the next storm and looked for some pictures to embody that idea - this crystallised into the Rainforest Symphony necklace. I had some polymer clay leaves which I added to the necklace, and made earrings to match - I think I achieved that feeling of tranquility that you see in the pictures of the rainforest - the calm before the storm.
I stumbled across this blog on one of my regular trawls through the internet and contacted Susan with an invitation to look at my website and blog. She writes fashion updates for readers mainly from the US to help them find flattering fashion for the over 50s woman. Her mission statement is To find fashion for women over 50 that exudes sophistication, energy, and a continued sense of wonder.
She liked my designs - and prices - enough to give me a shout out in her blog last week - you can find it here http://flattering50.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/statement-necklaces-from-across-pond.html. I commend her blog to you - it has some very sensible tips on how to dress well - and look great, and what the well dressed American woman is wearing today. I have had quite a few of her readers come along and take a look at my designs and blog, so thank you Susan.
She says 'If you are an over 50 woman with an artist talent for creating jewelry, fashion, art, music or something else? If so, I'd love to give you a little free publicity on Flattering50. Just send to firstname.lastname@example.org...
--a brief description of your creations and a little about you
--a link to your website or blog
--a JPEG or two illustrating what you create'
- so if you fit the bill, do send her an email.
Well, that's it for the week - have a fabulous weekend, and see you next week
Last week I was toasting myself in the sun, albeit gently, walking in a park where people were shedding outer layers of clothing, much like a snake sheds its skin. I wasn't quite so brave, but I did put away my winter boots - and this week - it snowed! - a frantic rummage in the shoe cupboard ensued!
Oh well, it was nice while it lasted - I just hope that's not the end of the British summer - as my husband is fond of reminding me - "Ne'er cast a clout till May is out" - if he would only tell me what a 'clout' is, I would be better equipped to deal with the weather.
I found inspiration from an unlikely source this week - a programme on the telly about leaf fossils excavated in the UK.
Leaf fossils are a window into what the Earth looked like in prehistoric times. We can look at a leaf fossil and let our imagination conjure up a field or forest millions of years ago.
About 50 million years ago, in southern England and the Isle of Wight, mangroves grew in the wet areas, and in the drier areas the plants included pines, laurel, raspberry and magnolia. The programme was about an accidental find of a laurel leaf fossil, from the Isle of Wight, probably similar to leaves of today i.e. leathery, shiny and containing aromatic oil. Laurel is widespread today, in tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean regions and is not indigenous to the area. This fossil was found in a bed of slate - Slate is a fine-grained, sedimentary rock composed of volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism - there are no known volcanoes in the vicinity of the Isle of Wight.
The Leaf Unturned Necklace
I made a leaf from copper Precious Metal Clay in my kiln, polished it, and then patinated it using rock salt, acetic acid and liquid ammonia fumes till I got a lovely encrustation of the turquoise blue, akin to that found on the roofs of buildings in Liverpool - they have a fantastic copper roof on the Liver Building which is always this colour. This had to be varnished to hold the patina for posterity (!) and then set in faux slate - polymer clay which I have now found can be made to resemble almost anything - give me some wire and some polymer clay - and I will be in heaven! I made up the necklace with grey speckled ceramic beads of different sizes, a lava rock flower, snowflake obsidian, which is essentially quick cool lava rock with grey/white inclusions, and a few little dangles - I do like my dangles - to signify the field of wild flowers where the prehistoric fossil was found, and a couple of twists of faux turquoise, for colour and some freshwater pearls - an entirely grey piece would be dull, dont you think??
I read a book called Steampunkery by Christi Friesen - it is absolutely my kind of craft book - simply written, with loads of tips and pictures, with a wicked sense of humour - I have never read a craft book written so well. On further investigation, she writes free tutorials on the internet as well, and all she asks for is a mention. I have vowed never to copy anyone - and I stick to that rigidly - but as Mike is fond of saying - 'there's no such thing as an original thought' (yes, he's a wise old bird, that one - his hair ain't silver for nothing!!) - and you have to get your inspiration from somewhere, I thought Christi's book was a good place to start.
I made the next pendant, Unbreak my Heart from a popular song of that name by Toni Braxton in the 90's - the heart disgorges wires and springs and gears - much like a broken settee - it is made in the tradition of Steampunk - my first dabble into this genre.
Steampunk came into prominence in the late 80s and 90s incorporating elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used— the Victorian era in Britain or the "Wild West" in the United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time with elements of either science fiction or fantasy. This technology includes time machines and airships found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, and of course, more modern writers with whom I am not familiar.
“To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance." – Jake von Slatt, aka Mr Steampunk - an IT professional and 'steampunk mechanical hacker' - you can find him here if you want to know more. http://www.wired.com/culture/design/news/2007/06/vonslatt
I made the pendant, made up the ribbon necklace, took pictures and posted them on Facebook - when I got home from work, to my pleasant surprise, there was a very discerning lady (anyone who likes my stuff must have a discerning eye, right?? - right!) looking to buy it - in fact she requested earrings to match as well! - which I made up at the weekend.
" Unbreak my heart,
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
when you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Uncry those tears......" Toni Braxton
A mechanical heart might be so much easier to unbreak!
Unbreak My Heart
The next piece was pure tomfoolery - how many times have we seen those sickly sweet cherubs on people's walls and in garden centres up and down the land, smiling benignly down from heaven - or wherever it is these cherubs get to - purely nausea inducing, I think - that of course is my personal opinion!
So, still under the spell of Christi Friesen, I made a naughty cherub - my kinda guy - a bit worse for wear, sticking plaster and grazed elbows, obviously been out somewhere - top hat, tails, bow-tie, monocle on a chain, blowing smoke from a fat cigar (which started life as a cigarette, but ended up as a cigar by the time I put in a wire armature to keep it upright). My dad had a record by Connie Francis from the late 50's called Stupid Cupid - and this is what I named him - I shall include this song, you can play it as you read on, for a bit of light relief!
I think he's ever so cute - I hung him on a hot pink velvet ribbon that simply ties at the back and is adjustable so he can nestle in a cleavage - which I think he would like, being the sort of guy he is, or be worn with a T shirt.
Have a Happy Easter holiday - eat a hot cross bun for me!! See you next week.